The artist Thomas Kinkade, the fellow who did all of those paintings of cute little cottages, died this spring.
Now, it appears as though his estate is in an absolute mess.
Long story short, he left two handwritten (Holographic) wills; which left significant assets, including the mansion, a studio, and ten million dollars to his girlfriend. His wife is contesting the wills.
This is going to be messy; it’s going to be long, and it’s going to be expensive.
And bear in mind, this is a guy who left an estate of, probably, over a hundred million dollars.
And his estate planning apparently consisted of a couple of handwritten wills.
The lesson here is, don’t do your estate planning by yourself. Kinkade could have afforded absolutely top legal talent; and he’d have had an absolutely bulletproof estate. Instead, for whatever reason, and I can’t imagine it was to save money, his estate is going to wind up in litigation, probably for years, incur what will probably be millions, maybe tens of millions, of dollars in legal fees on both sides, and whatever the result is, chances are very slim that it will wind up anywhere near what he actually wanted.
Remember, folks, do-it-yourself estate planning just winds up creating a mess; and it is very likely that any possible savings is going to be more than overshadowed by increased legal fees; plus what winds up happening is probably not going to bear much resemblance to what you actually wanted. If you want to do an estate plan, talk to a lawyer, the lawyer can set things up just as you like.